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situation room." >>> happening now, just two days before the first obama/romney debate and our new cnn national poll shows the president's lost, lost his post-convention bounce. but there's a different story in the battleground states. >>> mitt romney could make a huge impact on the supreme court. how he could change the direction of the court for decades. >>> they make $10 a day to put their lives on the line. but they could lose their job ifs they don't lose some weight. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >>> we're now just 36 days from the presidential election and nationally our brand-new cnn/orc poll of likely voters shows the race between president obama and governor romney remaining up for grabs. the president leads 50% to 47%. but his three-point margin is within the poll's sampling error. our chief national correspondent john king is in denver getting ready for the debate over there. that's the site of the debate. john, take us into these numbers. what are you seeing? >> reporter: well, wolf, i can tell you this, talking to senior officials in the romney campaig
doing just that while her husband, mitt romney, has been doing debate preparations just a short distance away in denver. it will be fascinating, wolf, to watch the body language between mitt romney and president obama tomorrow night when they meet face-to-face as the obama campaign revealed to cnn, the two men have only met a few times in the past. flash back to 2008 and there they are. then-senator barack obama and mitt romney sharing a few moments on stage after back-to-back democratic and republican presidential debates in new hampshire. they also ran into each other at a labor day parade in 2007. a campaign source cataloging the meetings tells cnn these are just two of the three times the candidates have ever seen each other in person. flash forward to 2012 one day before the debate. romney briefly stopped for lunch grabbing bued burritos at chipo >> people want to know who's going to win. who's going to score the punches? >> reporter: at a pre-debate rally in denver, romney seemed to down play reports that his campaign has prepped him with zingers to go after the president. >> it's
. the president will stand at the podium on the right, mitt romney at the podium on the left. this debate is separated into six 15-minute segments focusing heavily on the economy. touching down in denver this afternoon, president obama has prepared more for these debates than any sitting president in the modern era. while anticipation builds at the tightly controlled debate site mitt romney fine tuned his message in private, advisers say, relaxing with three of his sons and fueling up on a peanut butter and honey sandwich. campaigning today was left to top surrogates. >> i believe that the 21st century can be better than the 20th. >> you can do that. it's your future. go claim it. >> reporter: outside the debate hall cameras caught a brief glimpse of the candidates' motorcades. their walkthroughs inside the 1500-seat arena, kept out of view. >> two, three, four, five. >> reporter: for days advisers from both sides have been negotiating details from lighting to the angle of the podiums. the rules even address which spouse will be introduced first. mrs. romney, then mrs. obama. and a coin t
tuesday. a lot of his back woeers would disagree but mitt romney is out there saying tomorrow's big debate isn't about winning. polls show romney in a close race with the president, but trailing badly in some of the swing states that will decide the presidential election. well, here is mitt romney, we have heard these words before, sounds as though he's downplaying expectations as they say. take a listen. >> people want to know who is going to win, who is going to score the punches and who is going to make the biggest difference in the arguments they make and there is going to be all the scoring of winning and losing. >> so romney is saying, no, it is not about winning, not about losing, it is about america. but you have a lot of republicans, newt gingrich, for example, saying, hey, mitt romney, get out there, pick a fight, and win it. jim acosta with me now from the romney campaign. the debate, of course, tomorrow night in denver, you, sir, are in littleton, colorado. should we take mitt romney at face value when he says this debate is not about me winning? >> reporter: well, brooke, i th
to prepare for this debate as governor romney. we don't know exactly how much less time he has had, because the campaign doesn't tell us how much time he spends practicing. they like us to think it is very little time, indeed. what we do know is that he is holed up at a westin hotel outside of las vegas with his top aides and with massachusetts senator john kerry, playing romney in mock debates. kerry knows romney well. they are long-time massachusetts politicians and, of course, kerry knows his way around a presidential debate because he went up against george w. bush in 2004. the reason the obama campaign is working so hard to play down expectations is because they like the trajectory of the race right now and don't want to do anything to change that. norah and charlie? >> no doubt. nancy cordes, thank you. both sides are trying to lower expectations for the debate. any misstep has the potential to derail a campaign. and both candidates have both good and bad moments from their debate history. >> john, you're absolutely right that presidents have to be prudent in what they say. but, you k
presidential debate. at a rally last night in denver, romney previewed one of his attacks. >> we had 40-straight weeks of unemployment above 8%. and what does the president say to all this? he says forward. i think forewarned a better term. >> reporter: romney's trailing president obama in polls. and his campaign knows the upcoming debates could be their best chance to turn things around. that's why the candidate is practicing. huddled with mock advisers. in the mock debates, senator rob portman is playing barack obama. >> i don't like him very much anymore. >> reporter: as for president obama, he took a break from practice yesterday to visit a campaign office and make a few calls to unsuspecting voters. >> andrea? hi. this is barack obama. how are you? that's right. >> reporter: it was just a brief break for the president, who, like romney, has been rehearsing for days. senator john kerry is playing romney in president obama's practice sessions. the president is out of practice. the last time he debated was four years ago. and, rob and paula, according to the latest abc news/"washingto
hours as you said, mitt romney, barack obama squaring off here in denver. it will be a 90-minute debate. it will cover six different segments. most of it, though, john, is going to be on the economy. there's going to be three segments to focus on the economy. one segment on foreign policy. one segment on the role of governing and one segment on the role of government in people's lives, john. so how this is going to be set up is that the candidates will be sitting at podiums. if you're looking at your tv screen, mitt romney on your left, president obama on your right. the first question tonight, john, goes to barack obama. >> well, will they have a chance to mix it up and rebutt each other in a free-flowing way. >> organizers hope to have a flee-flowing discussion. this is the kind discussion we like to see because it allows the two candidates to discuss it amongst themselves. if there are questions about each other's plans, they can directly ask each other that. we have not seen that in this campaign and we'll see it tonight. >> you said the economy will likely be the big subject in the
to debate night. just hours before barack obama and mitt romney's first head-to-head primetime face-off. >>> oh,man. disaster, but it's not accident. crash cameras show you what it could be like upon a doomed jet liner. >>> and a florida woman's close encounter with a protected mammal. you know this could land her in jail? >> that's a costly picture right there. >> oh, my goodness. good morning to you. thank you for being with us. welcome to "early start." i'm zoraida sambolin. >> i'm john berman. it is 5:00 a.m. in the east. the big story this morning, it is go time. in just 16 hours all eyes will be on denver for the first presidential debate. president obama will be making his case for four more years and mitt romney trying to convince the country he is the better man for the job. now, right now it looks like voters need convincing on both sides because in a brand new cnn poll of polls it shows a very close race. the president maintaining a razor-thin three-point lead with a month to go at this point. our cnn political director mark preston is live from denver right in the middle
that obama had a bad debate, didn't do what he was supposed to do but mr. romney lied. >> bill: you are absolutely right. again, i compared romney's debate performance to the ryan speech in tampa. it was a good performance but it was packed with lies. i think the entire media was focusing on stage craft and performance or entertainment or acting ability and not on the substance of what they said. on the substance of what he said mitt romney simply did not tell the truth about the $5 million, about health care, about a whole lot of stuff. kevin in chicago, kevin getting rid of big bird good idea? >> caller: yeah, my granddaughter is four years old, so i'm ul up to speed on big bird. and it brings back memories of when my kids were young. >> bill: same here. >> caller: it is just an example of the crap that comes out of his mouth. they don't realize the value of putting something on tv for the kids to watch -- >> bill: and learn, yeah. >> caller: and the whole industry that has spawned off of it of the kids toy, and everything -- >> bill: you got it. big bird is a
is certainly on for the first debate between the president and governor romney. both candidates are going through final debate preparations before meeting face-to-face tomorrow night. the president spending the day with his staff in nevada, governor romney already in colorado where we find our campaign carl cameron live in denver. carl, it's been said that governor romney has a lot riding on these debates. what are you hearing about his prep? is he going for a knockout punch if you will? >> reporter: well the romney campaign would really prefer their knockout punch to come on election day. we are 35 days exactly from that now, five weeks from the day. with the debate tomorrow mr. romney is hoping to put this into the context of sort of a comprehensive approach gliding into election day, or rather charge into it. his aides yesterday said his first debate is a big opportunity for him to introduce himself to the country. they realize there are three more presidential debates and a vice presidental debate in this final one-month period w. that said there are a whole series of criticisms that
presidential faceoff. president obama, governor mitt romney cramming for their first debate tomorrow night in denver. and new questions about whether the president's health care law could soon be back before the u.s. supreme court. judge andrew napolitano weighs in. >>> and jaw-dropping pictures you won't want to miss. wait until you see what cameras caught when discovery tv intentionally crashed a 727 jet liner in an investigation, where's the safest place for you to sit when you fly? we're going to show you, all "happening now." gregg: hello, everybody, i'm gregg jarrett in for jon scott. jenna: hi, everybody, i'm jenna lee. brand new polling out today giving us a snapshot of how the race for the white house is shaping up on the 'of the first -- on the eve of the first presidential debate. the latest quinnipiac poll showing the president leading among likely voters, and that matters. [laughter] take a look at this poll, this same poll shows a much wider gap among women voters. the president holding a commanding lead, 56-38% among likely women voters nationwide. so why is governor romney
romney and president obama get ready for the make or break it debate. but romney says it's not about the win. >> plus, it was like hitting a lighthouse overnight. twoferry boats send at least a hundred to the hospital. >>> jump topping safety. a fire breaks out in an apartment building forcing a 72-year-old man to leap into the arms of bystanders below. just what happened? we're going to have all the details coming up. that's incredible. >>> good morning. welcome to early start. i'm brianna keilar. >> very nice to have you with us. i'm zoraida sambolin. i'm 5:00 a.m. in the east. counting down the final hours to the big denver debate. >> the stakes could not be higher for mitt romney and president obama. if a clear winner emerges, it could be a game changer. listen to romney tell supporters in denver, this debate is not a competition. >> the people want to know who is going to win, who is going to score the punches and who is going to make the biggest difference in the arguments they make? there's going to be the scoring of winning and losing. you know, in my view it's not so much wi
in the polls. he can keep trying to shift the debate toward those romney weaknesses. in particular, the sense he's out of touch with the middle class. you'll hear the number 47 as often as obama can get it into the debate. >> you think he can come off as aloof. when you look at the polls, the one thing he's consistently exceeded mitt romney at is likability. >> right. yet he does have -- it's partly it's proffesorial. when he looks like john kennedy he's on an upslope. he's not so good when he thinks he is way ahead and konts respect an opponent. i have a hunch he is hearing that from his folks in that room in nevada saying, you can't make a mistake like that. >> part of it is who you compare him to. he's aloof compared to bill clinton. bill clinton has a touch. >> everyone is aloof compared to bill clinton. >> exactly. >> let's talk about mitt romney. strengths, weakness. >> mitt romney's strength is that he is, comes across as competent, as a capable human being. as somebody who projects an air of authority, especially when he talks about the economy. that is the private sector track record
president obama and mitt romney. the first of the debates for the candidates. there will be 3. what happens on the stage could .lay a big role at the polls brianne carter has a preview. >> after months of battling, obama and republican hopeful mitt romney will share the same stage in denver. the first presidential debate. >> governor romney and president meet on the stage behind me. >> the latest poll shows the for president is very close. what happens tonight could have campaignson the two that are winding down with e than a month left to go. g to the wall street journal, they will square off 15-minute six segments with a focus on the economy, health care, and the role of government. have been caring for weeks. break tuesday and wives weighed in on how big it will go. we are focused and i cannot for the contrast we will hear. >> he's a very good debater, so him to relax and be himself. if he is barack obama the country has come to know and t job. he will do a grea this is a great day for forident obama and his wife another reason. this marks their 20th wedding anniversary. obama will be in
, president barack obama and governor mitt romney have four ivy league degrees between them and 50 debates between them, though none together and none like this. the incumbent president and the challenger on stage tonight in denver. and to set the stage for that, our political team beginning with peter alexander who covers the romney campaign for nbc news. peter, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. after all the hype and spin, this is where the debate will finally take place. let's give you a quick show around. they'll shake hands in the middle. the president will stand at the podium on the right, mitt romney at the podium on the left. this debate is separated into six 15-minute segments focusing heavily on the economy. touching down in denver this afternoon, president obama has prepared more for these debates than any sitting president in the modern era. while anticipation builds at the tightly controlled debate site mitt romney reviewed in private relaxing with his sons and fueling up on a peanut butter and honey sandwich. >> i believe that the 21st century can be bett
changer. listen to romney tell supporters in denver, this debate is not a competition. >> the people want to know who is going to win, who is going to score the punches and who is going to make the biggest difference in the arguments they make? there's going to be the scoring of winning and losing. you know, in my view it's not so much winning and losing or even the people themselves, the president and myself. it's about something bigger than that. >> state and political editor paul steinhauser is actually in the house with us this morning. all week long, last week we were talking about lower expectations. is this just that? >> you heard that from mitt romney. it's how you play the game. right. let's be honest. you heard the same thing from president obama sunday night at his rally in colorado. i think it also matters who wins or loses. both candidates in their final debate prep. mitt romney had the rally in colorado last night. he's hunkering down with the senator playing obama. you won't see much of mitt romney until wednesday night. same thing for the president. he's in nevada. he'll f
on the campaign trail as president obama and mitt romney hunkers down and prepares for wednesday's debate. a new abc news/"washington post" poll shows a very tight race. so both campaigns see tomorrow night as a big opportunity. this presidential campaign has been going on for nearly two years and finally it's debate season for the nominees. the time when americans seem to really start paying attention. president obama's rehearsing with senator john kerry and mitt romney is squaring off against senator rob portman. both candidates have challenges and checklists. president obama's working on shorter answers, trying to avoid sounding like the professor he was before the white house. democrats say he needs to look strong and forceful and not appear irritated or impatient. >> they're trying to get him into the mode of being able to answer questions, short, concisely, and to the point, and so it's much more like his mannerisms and his style and the way he comes across as opposed to information in this. >> reporter: and mitt romney? he has to seem relatable, especially after his 47% comment. how can h
states. and they're all eyeing this debate, both eyeing this debate on wednesday. picture it, mitt romney side by side with barack obama. this is what challengers want, to be literally on an even keel with the incumbent president and 60 million americans could tune in. prominent republicans said today, it's huge. they're setting up for the debate in denver. one of mitt romney's biggest backers sounds upbeat. >> every time he's been challenged, in one of these situations, and had a debate, he's come forward with an outstanding performance. listen, i plead guilty to having confidence in the guy on wednesday night. >> reporter: but romney trails in every battleground state. >> he's got to redefine himself as someone who cares about the average american. he's got to show how his policies connect to that caring. and he has to show how president obama's policies have not produced a better result than his policies will. boy, that's a lot to do in one debate. >> reporter: at a rally in nevada last night, president obama denied he's confident. >> no, no, governor romney, he's a good debater. i'm j
to be about, particularly for governor romney, is details. >> reporter: romney who has 23 primary debates under his belt, says he doesn't like formal debate prep, says it feels too artificial. instead, opting for more casual practice sessions, where aides fire off questions. advisers are coaching romney to the to get visibly irritated if his opponent gets under his skin, something his sparring partner, senator rob portman has been able to do in practice sessions. >> with five mock debates under his belt, the president practicing opposite senator john kerry as mitt romney,rehearsing keeping his answers tight. and aides are encourages him to be aggressive without overduing it. melissa wade is an expert on presidential debates and the head debate coach at emery university. >> they're trying to get the candidates to say the central message in as simple a form as possible with as much empathy as possible. >> reporter: one more note. both men will be joined by their wives tomorrow. ann romney says during past debates in the primaries, her husband routinely looked over at her for reassurance. me
his debate answers, shorter, more succinct. they have two minutes to react. mitt romney took a brief work from prep work to rally supporters in ten ver. told the crowd of thousand. the debats are about something bigger than who wins. romney and his debate partner, ohio senator, rob portman will spend the day working on last minute details. former bronco quarterback john elway announced his support for romney. >>> and now, a major medical headline this morning. internet addiction is now a step closer to being recognized as a serious illness. the world's top sigh kol jilss now recommend further study into internet and technology addiction so it can be formally classified as get this is a mental illness. researchers say children who are addicted to video games, are much more at risk for depression and anxiety. the problem goes beyond video gaming and formal studies should take place next year. >>> that brings us to our facebook question of the day -- how do you know when you have been overdoing it online and what do you do to control yourself? let us know at wnnfans.com. i can say from
: one more note. both men will be joined by their wives tomorrow. ann romney says during past debates, her husband routinely looked over at her for reassurance. meanwhile, tomorrow is the obama's 20th wedding anniversary. mrs. obama recently joked she would like her husband to write love you, on his hand so she and 50 million or so others can see it when he waives. >> it all begins in just over 24 hours from now. peter alexander in the venue. thanks. >>> our political director chuck todd is also part of our team in denver, tonight debuting our pre-debate polling numbers. chuck, how interesting that 34 states are voting, but this race is still on the move, and either a gaffe or a big moment at one of these debates could change the numbers further. >> reporter: look, it's absolutely true. and let's look at our new poll. there are two numbers that matter more when judging whether a president wins re-election or not. it's his job approval rating and where people see the direction of the country. for the president right now, his job approval rating is at 49%. disapproval at 48. our pollste
, counting the hours before the first debate, the first big one. the president and romney on the same stage. each man ready to tell voters why they should be the next leader of the free world. we have live team fox coverage. you heard the pilots, say, gregg, sit back and enjoy the flight. gregg: oh, yeah. jenna: you can't really do that if your seat is sliding all over the place. gregg: you get to change seats. jenna: or turn around or go back to where you came from. the very latest on american airlines latest debacle. two weeks into fall, old man winter is already flexing his muscles. the latest what could be a powerful winter storm. it is only october. what's going on? it's all "happening now." jenna: well, it is less than five weeks before election day. we're now just hours away from the first presidential debate. we're glad you're with us, everybody. i'm jenna lee. gregg: i'm gregg jarrett in for jon scott. we're live in the swing state of colorado as denver gets ready to host the very first face-to-face for the two candidates. president obama, governor mitt romney preparing to make the
in a resort in nevada before heading to denver in a few hours for his first debate governor mitt romney. senior white house foreign affairs correspondent, wendell goler is live at the white house. wendell, as we understand it the romney and the obama campaigns plan to fact check each other in realtime tonight. does that mean we'll need fact check, for the fact checkers? i mean how is that going to work? >> reporter: you need a computer in addition to your tv, jenna. campaigns want viewers to watch the debate on tv and log onto the campaign sites or twitter accounts where each side challenges opponents answers as they're giving. hear is the president's deputy campaign manager stephanie cutter on mitt romney's plans to cut income tax rates. >> the only way he gives the wealthy a big tax cut by deducking deductions for mortgages and. that would raise taxes for $2,000. if they have a different calculation they haven't shared it yet. >> reporter: get the democrat's view at barack obama.com,/debate or republican view at debate debates.mitt romney.com. jenna: we'll have computers up and ready
. and it was interesting to watch that the president's folks. watch out mitt romney is a strong debater and undersold their own cand date. what do you make about that. >> each side will portray their cand date the underdog . that is not the important question. which cand date will change the equillib rum of the race. we are seeing a equillib rum in the race. and governor has to accomplish more in the debate. but which of the two candidates will change it in his favor. >> or keep it going . dennis and mira, we'll wrap tup and look forward to wednesday night. have a great debate. governor chris christie has his message for the president. >> stop lying mr. president. >> lying? >> yes. >> >> gretchen: he catches people by surprise it doesn't stop not supposed to be in this country. but one state is giving driver's license to illegals. have birthday to zack. i have no idea how to say your name. he is 43. galifianakis. no. y foa limited time! try as much as you like, any way you like! like parmesan crusted simp just $14.99. i'm ryaisabell and i sea fd differently. [ male announcer ] it started long ago. th
romney. >> reporter: romney says he doesn't like formal debate preps, says it feels too artificial. instead, opting for more casual sessions. aides are coaching romney not to get visibly irritated if his opponent gets under his skin. something rob portman has been able to do in practice sessions. with five mock debates under his belt, the president rehearsing opposite john kerry. melissa wade is an expert on presidential debates and the head debate coach at emery university. >> they're trying to get the candidates to say the central message in as simple a form as possible with as much empathy as possible. >> reporter: one more note. both men will be joined by their wives tomorrow. ann romney says during past debates, her husband routinely looked over at her for reassurance. tomorrow, is the obama's 20th wedding anniversary. mrs. obama recently joked she would like her husband to write love you, on his hand so she and millions of americans can see it when he waves. >> peter, thanks. >>> our political director chuck todd is also part of our team in denver, tonight debeauing our prede
is convinced debates are about moments. >> the idea that i am anti-immigrant is repulsive. >> romney will come armed with several one-liners. >> clearly, they have been practicing zirng angers and linr months. that's not what the american people are looking for. >> the president is being coached to be crisper and shorten his answers. the former democratic candidate says mr. obama need to avoid being irritable. >> he has to relax, show a little sense of humor. show why he is lookable. >> reporter: the debate wednesday night is set for 90 minutes and will be entirely on domestic issues. the first half on jobs and the economy. the second half on health care and other issues. david kerley, abc news, the white house. >> looking forward tight. >> starts at 9:00. eastern. live. >> side-by-side in director's chairs. >> look you and i. sure they'll be sharing a beer. >> yeah. >> not really. >> not so much. >> interesting though, the majority of americans, i think two to one, think president obama is going to win. but, still this could, this still could prove to be a huge opportunity for him. i think it
surrogate have been here shadowing the president while he does debate prep. yesterday it was ann romney. i saw matt romney was appearing with marco rubio, one of the rising stars from florida. he's here to help turn out the hispanic vote in navy nevada. i sat down with him for an exclusive one on one. he said republicans should calm down about the polls. he believes that mitt romney's going to have a strong debate and he said the message should be very simple. take a listen. >> my pitch to voters is simple. we can't afford four more years of barak obama. we can barely afford four more months. if we have four more years of barak obama, we can't wait four years for people to find jobs or our houses to be worth what we paid for them. we can't wait four years for our kids to find job when is they graduate college. we can't wait for four more years. we can't afford it. >> marco rubio told me he thinks mitt romney, having a chance tomorrow night for the first time ever to be on the same stage with the president of the united states in his words, will crystallize the choice for voters. i think th
and practice. mitt romney is in colorado where the debate is being held, president obama is in nevada right now. yesterday, the president visited with volunteers at a campaign field office in henderson, even picked up the phone and joked with a voter about tomorrow's showdown. >> they're basically keeping me indoors the whole time. they're making me do my homework. >> cnn political director mark preston is in denver. are you inside the hall right now? no, you're still outside. >> reporter: outside. it's beautiful out here, carol. >> it's beautiful. well, you have been inside, i mean, it's a pretty impressive arena. >> it is a pretty impressive arena. and there's going to be so much on the line when we see barack obama and mitt romney face off tomorrow night. you know, carol, when we talk about moments in a campaign and how important they are, it's hard to argue that tomorrow night is not going to be the most important moment in this campaign. mitt romney, barack obama facing off, tens of millions of people watching them. you know, there's over 3,000 journalists that are going to be here just co
in the debate? saying what a great debater mitt romney is. but some say the president should stop lowering speculat i expectations and do a little self reflection. president obama's greatest enemy isn't romney, but himself. because, shall we say, the president is quite confident. here he is at a polling station in henderson, nevada. >> basically they're keeping me indoors all the time. it's a drag. they're making me do my homework. >> he was joking but polls show that most people believe that obama will ace the debate. still, some are concerned about his tendency to appear smug, testy sb y and impatient. remember what this four years ago? >> he's very likable. i agree with that. i don't think i'm that bad. >> you're likable enough. >> thank you so much. >> some felt that comment oozed c condescencion and cost him the primary there. smile, make his points, but being gentile. will president obama beat himself in the debate? facebook.com/carolcnn. your responses, later this hour. >>> one dramatic event can influence the outcome of any election. it's called the october surprise. we'll show you
. and this morning, mitt romney, riding high from his debate win wednesday. president obama fighting back, prising to do better at the next debate. the questions right now, is this really a new race? how much of a difference will this morning's jobs report make? david muir is with mitt romney in harrisonburg, virginia. good morning, david. >> reporter: good morning to you. both campaigns awaiting the new jobs report this morning. the president hoping for good numbers as he tries to turn the page on that debate performance this week. as mitt romney in virginia looks to build on his momentum. overnight here, the key battleground of virginia, mitt romney on a different stage. but it was that debate stage 24 hours earlier, still on his mind. >> last night, i thought was a great opportunity for the american people to see two very different visions for the country. >> reporter: deafening cheers and a swelling crowd of a debate performance that's rallied republicans. paul ryan, taking away from his own debate prep. >> last night, america got to see the man i know. a leader. >> reporter: the president, me
. >> no, no, governor romney, he's a good debater. i'm just okay. but what i'm most concerned about is having a serious discussion about what we need to do to keep the country growing. >> a new nbc news "wall street journal" poll finds that nearly four in ten voters say that the upcoming debates will be either extremely or quite important to determining their vote for president. another 34% of voters polled say that the upcoming debates will be somewhat important to their votes, so the stakes are high tonight. president obama's lead in the nationwide polls is narrowing. meantime, romney has pulled even in florida. john harwood is in denver this morning and he will join us in just a few minutes with the other poll numbers and see just exactly how close it is. then we're going to try our own debates. at 6:30 eastern time, we have strategists from both sides of the aisle. democrat jimmy williams versus republican joe watkins. an hour later, former dnc chair and vermont governor howard dean is facing off against ed conard. irene rosenfeld, the ceo of mondolez international. the markets
. >> president obama and mitt romney facing off in the first of three debates. abc's karen travers is in denver with a preview. >> reporter: with president obama and mitt romney doing final debate preps, their running mates hit the campaign trail. vice president biden was speaking about romney's economic plans when he said this. >> how they can justify raising taxes on the middle class that's been buried the last four years. >> reporter: republicans call it a stunning admission that the middle class has been hurt by the obama administration's policies. congressman paul ryan pounced. >> of course, the middle class has been buried. they're being buried by regulations. they're being buried by taxes. is they're being buried by borrowing. they're being buried by the obama administrations economic failures. >> reporter: biden later tried to dig himself out. >> the middle class was buried by the policies of romney and the ryan supported. >> reporter: except for debate prep, it was a politics-free day for the presidential contenders. romney had lunch at chipotle while president obama paid a visit to th
, already inside the debate hall. and political contributor, matthew dowd here with me. unlikely mitt romney is going to bring up this tape tonight. but the governor is behind nationally. and especially in the key battleground states. do they think they have to shake things up tonight? >> reporter: they absolutely do, george. i talked to a half-dozen advisers over the next 24 hours. and they agree. they have to establish three things. he has to offer a blistering critique of the president. the second thing, though, is criticism within his own party that he needs to offer more details. forward-looking specifics. expected to offer a little more about his tax plan. there's been questions about the tax cuts across the board. which deductions would he eliminate? he's been practicing with that question. they would be surprised, stunned, in fact, if the 47% comments did not come up during this debate. heeds been practicing on that, as well. and lastly, this is their words, he doesn't have to win a charm conte contest, a charm offensive on this stage. he does need to connect with americans and the p
blood cells -- >> one of the funniest things i ever saw. >> the altitude affects romney differently. i think he breathes a little more. >> he's taller. >> maybe he trained for the debate in denver. right some remember max company city? >> i'm glad you're entertaining yourself. >> all preparation that matters, right? >> it is. jarrett, what do you think, are people underestimating the vice president's abilities with paul ryan? >> if they aren't, they shouldn't. he's quick on his feet. he's good at linking things to a narrative. i can't imagine he would want to go into the weeds with paul ryan and talk about budget baselines. he'll talk about the kind of narrative, the middle class, the folks that he believes -- >> the ones buried in the last four years? >> i think joe biden really does connect with average voters in a way most politicians don't. and i think it will be tough. >> tony, you and the steelers, man. anything happens to them, and i got to hear from you. >> i have not had a chance on air to congratulate you with the reds. amazing season. >> thank you. they're 5:1 odds. i think
for the big showdown, the first debate between president obama and republican challenger mitt romney. the candidates will spend today getting ready for tomorrow's event in colorado. the president held no rallies yesterday but he did visit a campaign office in henderson, nevada. it's not far from where he and his staff have been strategizing. romney spoke to a crowd of supporters at an air and space museum in denver. >> this president is taking us on a path that's not working. he is making us more and more like europe. i don't want to be like europe. europe doesn't work in europe. >> at the university of denver crews are putting on the final touches, transforming the arena into a debate set. yesterday just 92 of the university's students learned their names were drawn in a lottery for tickets to the debate. it's a hot ticket. your ticket to the debate is right here on cbs 5. that's beginning tomorrow evening at 6:00. >>> nearly all americans will see higher taxes if congress fails to renew tax cuts. that's all according to a new report from the tax policy center. the two major parties
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